We are not where we want to be!
The Bok team managed to secure a 38-21 victory in a crowded Kings Park in Durban on Saturday, but it was ultimately a bittersweet result as the Springboks eventually finished second in the Rugby League.
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Doing the double against Pumas, while picking up wins over New Zealand and Australia, was progress according to coach Jacques Nienaber, although he also admitted key improvements were still needed.
“We had a plan to go all out to win the championship. We were on task until minute 35, then they got a penalty and the score before halftime changed the dynamic.
“I don’t think we can fault the effort of the players. We all sat down and decided to give it a shot as best we could. Unfortunately we didn’t make it, but you should never take a win in the Bok shirt for granted and we won’t. It is special…”
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The Bok team are next in action against Ireland, the world’s No.1 ranked team, in Dublin in November when Nienaber said they would have an even better idea of the team’s progress.
“We are not yet where we want to be. We need consistency, and we’ll probably have a pretty good idea on our end-of-year tour. We play No 1 and No 2 [France] teams around the world and we have an SA A team, and it’s going to be a tough tour. But it will give us some nice answers as to where we are.
Springboks captain Siya Kolisi said “we had some really good times in the rugby league, and we had some weak times as well.”
“We know we can win against anyone in the world today, but today was a big step forward as it was a third win in a row and we want to take that momentum with us on the tour of end of the year,” added Captain Bok.
The Bok team finished one point behind New Zealand in the final standings
Nienaber noted that he used 34 players in the tournament and that some questions were answered about the depth of the position.
“We have built some depth as a team. Some players gained experience, but that wasn’t the main objective – which was to win the Rugby Championship and we didn’t achieve that. But there were positives to be taken from it,” he said.
“We are now in a better position to learn certain positions than we were when we started. There was always this big issue around the fly half and if Damian (Willemse) could play there and hats off to Frans (Steyn) today, in a very short time he had to slot in and he will just improve in that regard.
“We also had Kurt-Lee (Arendse) and Canan (Moodie) and now Cheslin (Kolbe) has to play if he wants to come back – but we know he’s quality and we can’t wait to welcome him. return.”
WATCH | HIGHLIGHTS: SPRINGBOKS V ARGENTINA
The Springbok team: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Duane Vermeulen, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Kurt-Lee Arendse.
Argentina team: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Pablo Matera, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Julian Montoya (c), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Subs: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Pedro Rubiolo, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Bautista Delguy.